Of all the things that happen to albums over their lifetime one of the most frustrating for a record shop is paint. If there’s a smudge of paint on an album, it’s pretty likely it will play just fine even if it looks like it’s been terribly damaged. A bunch of scrubbing with some solvent is probably going to create actual damage on the record, so as far as I know it’s best to leave it be.
Until yesterday afternoon I wondered how on earth somebody got paint on their records, but then I spent the afternoon repainting our bathroom and listening to music on a Califone turntable we’d just finished fixing up for a customer. I don’t like to send somebody home with a turntable until it’s been thoroughly tested, and I had a project to do so the situation seemed natural. I listened to a few favorites – The first Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album, Blood on the Tracks (“Be careful not to touch the wall there’s a brand new coat of paint”) and Superchunk’s Foolish. I think I got a smudge on each.
Portable record player + painting a bathroom = paint smudges on your records.